Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Pongala Pasayam - Sarkara Payasam - Attukal Pongala Special

Attukal Bhagavathi is a goddess worshiped in my home town Trivandrum. Every year millions of women offer pongala (prayer offering) to attuakal amma (mother). People arrive from all parts of the state and even from other states. They set up hearths with bricks and they make payasam (similar to chakkara pongal) and therali appam.

Around 7km radius of the temple women sit in lines with their hearths. The priest at the temple lights the fire in the temple hearth and the fire is transferred from one hearth to the next.

Women prepraring Payasam and Therali in a brick hearth on the streets of Trivandrum (Photo by Santosh)

Earthen Pots and Pans being sold in the market (Photo by Santosh)

Around 3.5 million women offer pongala to Attukal Amma. The priest lit the temple hearth at around 10:15. At around 2:30, priests from the temple (around 250 odd) sprinkle the holy water on all the preparations and the offering to goddess is complete.

It is the largest women's gathering in the world and has made it to the guinness records. If you are in Trivandrum, please do visit the temple.

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple - Trivandrum, Kerala

I am presenting to you the recipe of Pongala Payasam that is made as an offering for the Bhagavathi. The recipe is pretty simple. Though quite similar to Chakkara Pongal prepared by Tamilians on Pongal day, this payasam has a unique taste cause of the added coconut and the no milk factor.

Thanks to Shoba Chechi and Aswathy for the recipe... Thanks to Santosh for the photos of the festival...

Another neivedhyam (offering) is Therali Appam.  I have posted the recipe for that before. Do check that here.


Rice 1 cup
Water 7 cups
Jaggery 2 cups
Coconut 1 cup
Cardamom powder 1/4 tsp
Cashews few
Raisins few
Ghee 2 tbsp


Method of Preparation

1. Bring 7 cups of water to boil.

2. Add rice to it and cook till it is well done. The water will be almost absorbed now. Check with the spatula to make sure cause once the jaggery is added the rice will not cook anymore.

3. Add the jaggery (powdered) and mix. It will melt and liquefy the payasam. Simmer for a few minutes.

4. Add coconut and cardamom powder along with 1 tbsp of ghee. Mix well and cook for another 3-4 minutes. The payasam will start to solidify now.

5. In the end, heat ghee in a small pan and add cashews. When they brown, keep aside. In the same pan, add the raisins and roast. Add the cashews and raisins along with the ghee to the payasam

Enjoy! Some ppl like to add some sliced bananas to this while eating.


  1. Wow ! Yummy... finger licking sweet....

  2. Wow lovely post.

    So tempting payasam.

  3. yummy and with 1 spoon it gives fulfill effect:)

  4. very yummy payasam n love it in peak... nice write ups.. .

  5. Its my favorite payasam. looks yum

  6. Rosh - I made this today for "pooja eduppu". Came out yumm! Followed the recipe to the "T" Thanks so much.
    I haven't done pongala offerings many times.. I think just once or twice and I just followed my mom or mil at that time (barely could keep my eyes open with all the fire et all. Didn't imagine it was so simple.Happy Vijaya Dashami!

    1. yaay.. glad you liked it Dhan.. :-) Thanks for letting me know! Happy Navarathri to you as well!